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My Family Divided: One Girl's Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope

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Before landing a spot on the megahit Netflix show Orange is the New Black; before wowing audiences as Lina on Jane the Virgin; and before her incredible activism and work on immigration reform, Diane Guerrero was a young girl living in Boston. One day, while Guerrero was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained, and deported. Guerr Before landing a spot on the megahit Netflix show Orange is the New Black; before wowing audiences as Lina on Jane the Virgin; and before her incredible activism and work on immigration reform, Diane Guerrero was a young girl living in Boston. One day, while Guerrero was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained, and deported. Guerrero's life, which had been full of the support of a loving family, was turned upside down.


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Before landing a spot on the megahit Netflix show Orange is the New Black; before wowing audiences as Lina on Jane the Virgin; and before her incredible activism and work on immigration reform, Diane Guerrero was a young girl living in Boston. One day, while Guerrero was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained, and deported. Guerr Before landing a spot on the megahit Netflix show Orange is the New Black; before wowing audiences as Lina on Jane the Virgin; and before her incredible activism and work on immigration reform, Diane Guerrero was a young girl living in Boston. One day, while Guerrero was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained, and deported. Guerrero's life, which had been full of the support of a loving family, was turned upside down.

30 review for My Family Divided: One Girl's Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope

  1. 4 out of 5

    TL

    I won a copy via Goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.:) ---- Confession: Didn't know this was the edition for younger readers when I entered the giveaway.. my bad haha. The good: Her personal story is compelling, my heart broke for her and her family and what they had to endure. I think she was brave for sharing her personal story, including all the warts and fears. I love how passionate she is in her activism as well and I admire her for keeping on figh I won a copy via Goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.:) ---- Confession: Didn't know this was the edition for younger readers when I entered the giveaway.. my bad haha. The good: Her personal story is compelling, my heart broke for her and her family and what they had to endure. I think she was brave for sharing her personal story, including all the warts and fears. I love how passionate she is in her activism as well and I admire her for keeping on fighting. The bad/so-so/indifferent: The cover illustration/drawing is nicely done, but a bit out of place. Maybe it's better for the younger readers and all... just think the creative team could have done better. The writing is good but sometimes felt a little awkward in this edition. I'm assuming some of those may have been re-written for its intended audience? It didn't pull me out of the narrative, but it did cross my mind from time to time. The last chapter seemed out of place with the rest of the book. I'm not wading into any political waters here but it seemed to stand out in Vibe from the rest of the book (may have been the intention). Worth the read, and I appreciate winning it but won't be buying a copy for myself.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    It was really heartbreaking to read Diane Guerrero’s story, though you could certainly tell it had been condensed down into this version friendly for a younger audience. It’s a story that shares the real experiences of many folks in our country, and I think the way it’s told makes it a story that we can learn from, empathize with and be inspired by.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter Actress Diane Guerrero's father and mother came to the United States from Colombia in the 1980s in order to make a better life for themselves and for their son. They came on a ninety day tourist to visit a sister and did not leave. While they struggled, they were able to hold down jobs and have places to live. They tried to obtain citizenship, but were thwarted by the bureaucracy, as well as by a fraudulent lawyer who took a lot of money for little resul ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter Actress Diane Guerrero's father and mother came to the United States from Colombia in the 1980s in order to make a better life for themselves and for their son. They came on a ninety day tourist to visit a sister and did not leave. While they struggled, they were able to hold down jobs and have places to live. They tried to obtain citizenship, but were thwarted by the bureaucracy, as well as by a fraudulent lawyer who took a lot of money for little results. Diane was born in the US and struggled a bit in school, but had a solid group of friends and enjoyed her life in Boston, eventually attending a performing arts school that got her started on her way to her eventual renown for television shows like Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. When she was 14, her parents were arrested and deported. Luckily, she was able to stay with family friends, and even managed to go to a very nice private college, but her family's situation was never resolved to her satisfaction. The book, which has a few black and white pictures of Guerrero, her family, and friends, shows the effect this had on her. Strengths: This was a fast paced look at how immigration laws affected one family that also talks a bit about how this is a more and more common experience in the US. Weaknesses: I wish that the cover were a photo instead of an illustration, since this is nonfiction. I'm not sure how many children will be familiar with this actress. What I really think: Will purchase this instead of Saedi's Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card as a timely book on a topic of interest and as a read along for books like Restrepo's Illegal.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Satvika B. 8B

    This book was so heart warming and beautiful. I feel like some people take everything they have for granted, this book really does makes us think about things in our life we usually wouldn't think of. Who is worried about their parents getting deported into a different country everyday, scared to wake up in the morning? This book touched my heart, with tears, happiness and everything in between. It is just amazing how many bumps Diane Guerrero went through to get where she is now. At age 14, al This book was so heart warming and beautiful. I feel like some people take everything they have for granted, this book really does makes us think about things in our life we usually wouldn't think of. Who is worried about their parents getting deported into a different country everyday, scared to wake up in the morning? This book touched my heart, with tears, happiness and everything in between. It is just amazing how many bumps Diane Guerrero went through to get where she is now. At age 14, all alone with no one to take of her. I don't know what I would have done if I was in her shoes. Diane is the most persevered, hopeful person I know. She is just amazing! I have no words. I can't believe many people in the world have to go through the same thing as her, even now as I type. Somehow or somewhere right now there are kids all alone without hope, and I think this book is a real inspiration to them and everyone. My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero is just the best book I have ever read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    C. L.

    A good, honest, important story — just not one that’s very well-written. It’s a shame that a book meant to be about giving someone a voice has so little... well, voice. Still worth it, though. Recommended, but it’s not going to stand out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Very good insight into the lives of undocumented immigrants. Well written and entertaining except the last chapter. I'm interested in watching some of the shows she has been in. Very good insight into the lives of undocumented immigrants. Well written and entertaining except the last chapter. I'm interested in watching some of the shows she has been in.

  7. 4 out of 5

    T

    A young-readers edition of Reyna Grande's auto-biography of her journey from a young girl growing up in Mexico abandoned by her father and mother through her families dangerous trek across the Mexican border to living in Los Angeles with an abusive alcoholic father. A heartbreaking, honest story of a family haunted by a history of abuse, failed relationships, and unfulfilled dreams. Through her tragic and sad childhood, Reyna maintains an admirable spirit and spunk, not letting her situation (a A young-readers edition of Reyna Grande's auto-biography of her journey from a young girl growing up in Mexico abandoned by her father and mother through her families dangerous trek across the Mexican border to living in Los Angeles with an abusive alcoholic father. A heartbreaking, honest story of a family haunted by a history of abuse, failed relationships, and unfulfilled dreams. Through her tragic and sad childhood, Reyna maintains an admirable spirit and spunk, not letting her situation (a mother who failed to mother, a father haunted by his own past abuse, and a family divided) stop her from pursuing her dreams of graduating high-school and hopefully college and becoming a writer. An inspirational and memorable story of hope, family, love, determination, and the human spirit. (took so long to read because it was passed from reader to reader in my class before eventually finding its way back to my classroom library).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leila-Simone

    this book was ok , i didnt really understand it but it's basically about this girl who tells the story about her immigrant parents. and how she feels when they get deported and skimmed over 1,000$ this book was ok , i didnt really understand it but it's basically about this girl who tells the story about her immigrant parents. and how she feels when they get deported and skimmed over 1,000$

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julieth

    Because this story is about her life I don’t feel entitled to give this a star rating. However I do want to say that I loved this book! So much of my childhood life I see reflected in this story! My parents and myself along with my cousin came from Colombia in 1999. The fear that she lives with about the immigration status is something that I faced myself. I found this book to give a young audience an idea of what it’s like to be children of immigrants and I’m thankful that Diane made the decisi Because this story is about her life I don’t feel entitled to give this a star rating. However I do want to say that I loved this book! So much of my childhood life I see reflected in this story! My parents and myself along with my cousin came from Colombia in 1999. The fear that she lives with about the immigration status is something that I faced myself. I found this book to give a young audience an idea of what it’s like to be children of immigrants and I’m thankful that Diane made the decision to write her story for a younger audience. I do want to give trigger warnings for depression, thoughts of suicide with a semi plan happening as well as self harm. For the audience that this is intended I urge parents to read this with them specially the harder parts. And talk about what it means for some children to actually live with this daily fear. Thank you Diane for this book, thank you for sharing your story. I love seeing you in OITNB and I will definitely pick up your other book as well.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book is an important, inspiring kid's adaptation of Diane Guerrero's memoir on growing up with undocumented parents. It also deals with depression and cutting, as Guerrero goes through some dark days after her parents and brother are deported without warning when she is a teenager. Having to be her own parent in a lot of ways closed off her access to vulnerability, emotional growth, and trust in others. I love the way she both explains deportation and immigration issues to kids and details This book is an important, inspiring kid's adaptation of Diane Guerrero's memoir on growing up with undocumented parents. It also deals with depression and cutting, as Guerrero goes through some dark days after her parents and brother are deported without warning when she is a teenager. Having to be her own parent in a lot of ways closed off her access to vulnerability, emotional growth, and trust in others. I love the way she both explains deportation and immigration issues to kids and details ways kids can learn more on the topic and become active in their communities. Highly recommended for kids, middle grade, and young adult readers!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Everett

    This book is the junior edition to the adult version. I think it was a very powerful read. She illustrates her struggles unapologetically and recognizes her growth and strength. I also like how harder topics like self harm were handled - honest and helpful (acknowledging the need for help and expressing how she was glad she sought help). After reading this I realize how little I know and understand about immigration, immigrants, and their families. This effects all of us. Compassion and justice This book is the junior edition to the adult version. I think it was a very powerful read. She illustrates her struggles unapologetically and recognizes her growth and strength. I also like how harder topics like self harm were handled - honest and helpful (acknowledging the need for help and expressing how she was glad she sought help). After reading this I realize how little I know and understand about immigration, immigrants, and their families. This effects all of us. Compassion and justice are required to provide a better future for this country. The only real detraction was some of the writing style came off like it was trying too hard to sound young and hip. Otherwise a good read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    "My Family divided" is about a girl struggling with her family. Her parents are on the verge of getting deported and her brother has already been sent away to Columbia. Once her parents do get deported, Diane ( The main character) is getting sent from home to home. She was going through so much such as being home sick, in debt, and suicidal. However, When she meets her goals her life is turned around and stars in new movies and shows. Mean while, She sees her parents every summer and reunites wi "My Family divided" is about a girl struggling with her family. Her parents are on the verge of getting deported and her brother has already been sent away to Columbia. Once her parents do get deported, Diane ( The main character) is getting sent from home to home. She was going through so much such as being home sick, in debt, and suicidal. However, When she meets her goals her life is turned around and stars in new movies and shows. Mean while, She sees her parents every summer and reunites with her loved ones. Overall this story is amazing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This autobiography of actress and activist Diane Guerrero chronicles her life from childhood to present-day, opening with the deportation of her parents when she was in high school. Although the writing is sometimes choppy, this is an inspiring story with an appealing cover that should resonate with middle schoolers. I hovered between rating it 3 or 4 stars, but the hopeful story and helpful immigration reform resources tipped the scales.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Taylor

    What happens when a 14 year old comes home from school one day to discover that both of her parents have been deported? Diane Guerrero answers this question as she tells her own story. For many of us, the issue of immigration is something we can discuss and debate, but for many American children, it is a harsh reality. Diane puts a face and a story to the issue. She also includes resources for immigrants and for others to get involved. Great read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Really compelling story. I think this has a lot of appeal for older teens, so I wish they hadn't gone with a cover that looks so middle grade. I liked that the writing was chatty, but some lines felt very "hello, fellow kids." And the last chapter about getting involved could have been more general and less specific; with the talk about the "upcoming" 2018 midterm election, it is already dated. Really compelling story. I think this has a lot of appeal for older teens, so I wish they hadn't gone with a cover that looks so middle grade. I liked that the writing was chatty, but some lines felt very "hello, fellow kids." And the last chapter about getting involved could have been more general and less specific; with the talk about the "upcoming" 2018 midterm election, it is already dated.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paola Ortiz

    A fabulous heartwarming story of family, love, endurance, challenge and dreams! Well Done Diane!! Truly, well done!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Valentina Gonzalez

    I truly enjoyed experiencing this story through the eyes of child whose parents were deported. It helped me understand the feelings and emotions, the fears and hopes of a child facing family separation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Dynek

    Conversational story tells of Diane's family and their struggle to stay in the U.S. legally. The latter half of the story is Guerrero sharing the challenges she faced with college and early adulthood with very little family support system. What a timely book. Conversational story tells of Diane's family and their struggle to stay in the U.S. legally. The latter half of the story is Guerrero sharing the challenges she faced with college and early adulthood with very little family support system. What a timely book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Clare Lund

    Eye opening and heartbreaking memoir about Diana Guerrero’s childhood, living in constant fear that her parents, undocumented immigrants from Colombia, would be deported. A very powerful read. I’d recommend for ages 12 and up due to inclusion of topics like drinking and self-harm.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Veronika Bitting

    This story is about a girl divided from her family when they get deported. I don't know if I would read this to my students because even though its a true story it might make them sad. This story is about a girl divided from her family when they get deported. I don't know if I would read this to my students because even though its a true story it might make them sad.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    This was a juvenile non fiction book written by a Colombian actress. It talked about how she had to grow up after her parents got deported. Although she hasn't lost hope, she knows they do not have a chance of returning to America whilst Trump is president. This was a juvenile non fiction book written by a Colombian actress. It talked about how she had to grow up after her parents got deported. Although she hasn't lost hope, she knows they do not have a chance of returning to America whilst Trump is president.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Raisa Farhat

    This book is about Diane Guerrero and her life story about deportation, loss of hope and home and finally finding her way up. As a child, Diane was always in constant fear of deportation. I rated this book a five because it just made me cry and got me in my feels(in a good way). The author makes me think about how it must be really hard to survive when you don't have much. I think Diane was trying to tell the readers is that you shouldn't give up and keep on fighting. This book is about Diane Guerrero and her life story about deportation, loss of hope and home and finally finding her way up. As a child, Diane was always in constant fear of deportation. I rated this book a five because it just made me cry and got me in my feels(in a good way). The author makes me think about how it must be really hard to survive when you don't have much. I think Diane was trying to tell the readers is that you shouldn't give up and keep on fighting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Baljot Singh

    I think this book is amazing. Since, this book talks about immigration in the United States. Which is really difficult, especially for the author to share her story to us! This book talks about how Diane's family gets deported and etc. But I can't spoil the rest for you! I think this book is amazing. Since, this book talks about immigration in the United States. Which is really difficult, especially for the author to share her story to us! This book talks about how Diane's family gets deported and etc. But I can't spoil the rest for you!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pernia

    Diane describes her upbringing, being raised in Boston by her parents and older brother. When she is 14 her parents are deported to Colombia when it was discovered that they were living here undocumented. Diane lives with other family members and friends as she attends a high school that emphasizes the arts. She gets admitted to an all women’s college and falls into despair. Although she visits her family in Colombia, her parents divorce, and she feels abandoned as well as unable to tell anyone h Diane describes her upbringing, being raised in Boston by her parents and older brother. When she is 14 her parents are deported to Colombia when it was discovered that they were living here undocumented. Diane lives with other family members and friends as she attends a high school that emphasizes the arts. She gets admitted to an all women’s college and falls into despair. Although she visits her family in Colombia, her parents divorce, and she feels abandoned as well as unable to tell anyone her story. She becomes depressed, worries about her family and money. She cuts and tries to take her life. She pursues her dreams of singing and acting. She details her big break in the role of Maritza on Orange is the New Black.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Jimenez

    The book that I chose to read for my school assignment is My Family Divided written by Diane Guerrero with Erica Moroz that was published in 2018. This book follows the life of a Colombian girl, Diane, who had parents and a brother that were illegal immigrants, while she was a legal citizen because she was born here. Her brother and eventually her mother and father are all deported. It shows the struggles she had being a teenager left alone and the emotional turmoil she went through. I was surpr The book that I chose to read for my school assignment is My Family Divided written by Diane Guerrero with Erica Moroz that was published in 2018. This book follows the life of a Colombian girl, Diane, who had parents and a brother that were illegal immigrants, while she was a legal citizen because she was born here. Her brother and eventually her mother and father are all deported. It shows the struggles she had being a teenager left alone and the emotional turmoil she went through. I was surprised how emotional this book made me. I thought that since it is aimed at children it wouldn’t affect me, but I was wrong. The plot of this book goes in chronological order, besides the first chapter that starts at her parents deportation, then the second chapter begins with her birth and the book moves on from there. With the plot being set up this way you are able to see how different events affect the author and how each one adds another layer to who she is. With nonfiction books it’s important to understand how the characters are affected because it’s not an author making up the events and emotions, they really happened in someone’s life. This book’s setting changes as the book goes on. It starts in Boston where she is born and it moves around to Columbia where her parents and brother were deported to. It follows her to New York and then to Brazil for a visit. This book is set starting in 1986 and moves on through the years until 2016. It was a time for uncertainty for illegal immigrants and how to move forward to become legal citizens. In this book the characterization is done in a way that flows and we are able to see the events that shape the characters. From this we can make connections between what has happened in the past and the choices that they made from those events. This is something unique for nonfiction because it’s able to show real life events and how different people react to situation. In the book it would have been easy for Diane to give up after her parents were deported and at times she almost did, but through personal strength she was able to make it through high school, college, and went on to have a successful career in TV. The theme in this book is to help others understand the struggles and fears of those who come here undocumented and the children of those people. It also wants to help other children in this same situation understand that they are not alone and there is hope. A lot of times the children have no one to talk to because they try to stay as secretive as they can about their situations at home because of the fear that someone would come and take their family away. I would definitely recommend this book. I was pleasantly surprised by home much I enjoyed this book. It struck a chord with me because I am a daughter of a man who came here illegally and I saw him work and struggle to become legal and pursue his American dream. While I never had my father deported, seeing someone else’s view on a subject that means so much to me. There are some adult issues discussed in this book such as cutting, suicide, and depression. With that being said I believe that it’s appropriate for younger kids if they are going through events similar to those the author went through since it can help them not feel so alone. There are many social issues that can be used to start a conversation. There is the subject of immigration and how it affects people. There is the topic of going to see a therapist, something that is uncommon for a lot of Latino families. It’s more common to just deal with issues alone so to see a famous Latina admit that she went to one to help with her depression and cutting is very inspiring. It also brings up the issue of what happens to the legal children of illegal immigrants after they are deported. This book is a memoir about Diane’s life from childhood until her late twenties that she uses in an effective way to inform and educate those who read it to help them understand a situation that most people never have to go through.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Irwin

    I wanted to like this book. I really wanted to like this book. I did not like this book. The story is relevant and important to tell. Diane Guerrero tells the story of her parents and brother being deported, leaving her, the sole citizen in the family, to fend for herself at a young age in a system that has forgotten about her. It’s important for children whose families are affected by immigration laws to read and see that they’re not alone. It’s important for children whose families are not aff I wanted to like this book. I really wanted to like this book. I did not like this book. The story is relevant and important to tell. Diane Guerrero tells the story of her parents and brother being deported, leaving her, the sole citizen in the family, to fend for herself at a young age in a system that has forgotten about her. It’s important for children whose families are affected by immigration laws to read and see that they’re not alone. It’s important for children whose families are not affected to read to understand what their peers are going through. It’s important for adults to read to understand what our inaction can do and is doing to families across the country. That being said, the story telling leaves a lot to be desired. It’s hard to follow. The narrative is mostly told in chronological order, but jumps back and forth between what’s happening at home and at school and in Columbia so often that it’s difficult to follow. For example, The first couple pages of chapter seven talk about this seemingly sudden need to find a high school. Then, in a rather jarring transition - “Back to Eric.” - she’s talking about her brother. The slang is too much If you’re writing a narrative that takes place mainly in the 90s and 00s and want to use slang from the era, great! It may be kind of challenging for younger readers to figure out what all those words mean, but it’s a good exercise in using context clues. Being the same age as the author, I can certainly appreciate the slang of our childhoods. “I strolled across the platform, careful to keep my Adidas fresh. They were so dope>.” What doesn’t work is jumping back and forth between that and modern slang. I admit that I have a personal vendetta against books that use hashtags and online acronyms (this book was guilty of at least one “LOL”) in their narratives. Combining three decades worth of slang into one narrative made my head want to explode. “Like all families, mine has #drama.” A bit about the self-harm narrative It takes a great deal of strength to write about your struggles, to present them in a nonfiction book with your name attached, for all the world to see. I loved reading about Diane’s journey to accepting that she needed to find help. My concern here, is that the end of this section of the narrative came on so quickly. The only explanation of how she moved past depression was that she talked to a therapist and poured herself into her acting. I know it’s not easy to put on the page, but I wish that she had gone deeper into what her healing process looked like. If you’re considering giving this book to a child or teenager, plan on having a conversation around this issue. Final thoughts I’d be curious to read the original version of this, written for adults and see if many of the problems I found would be resolved in the longer narrative.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Camacho

    It's a 3-3.5 for an adult reader, at least that's how I'm grading it. This is the young adult version of the original memoir. I really enjoyed it, but I didn't feel like it rose to the level of a 4 or 5. Things that made it score lower (for me): -The cover is an illustration but the inside includes actual photos because it's a memoir. An illustration of a little girl is confusing and takes away from what its genre/purpose. I thought at first it was an adapted novel not a younger version of the mem It's a 3-3.5 for an adult reader, at least that's how I'm grading it. This is the young adult version of the original memoir. I really enjoyed it, but I didn't feel like it rose to the level of a 4 or 5. Things that made it score lower (for me): -The cover is an illustration but the inside includes actual photos because it's a memoir. An illustration of a little girl is confusing and takes away from what its genre/purpose. I thought at first it was an adapted novel not a younger version of the memoir. -At the end of the book it says 320 billion people live in the US, whoa there, it's million not billion. -Most importantly, the writing style and word choice: it just felt forced in terms of trying to captivate or engage a younger reader. It used language that I guess was meant to be cool, and I guess I'm not cool ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Things that kept me reading because dang did I read (less than 2 days): -the content. The story is interesting--it's compelling, it's real. -the pacing. It didn't dwell on moments or events, which I liked. -the point of view. In every other immigrant/immigration narrative I read about the immigrant, the refugee, the undocumented person, the migrant, etc. It's their story and their ordeal. What this memoir does is give credence to the fact that this is not an individual experience, it's familial, it's collective. Guerrero is a native born citizen, her family was a mixed household. She wasn't deported, but she lived in fear of it nonetheless. That's different, and equally important to these stories. I noticed in a lot of reviews people stated that the last chapter was unnecessary. I beg to differ. The last chapter is a call to action and a summary of resources. If you haven't been in her situation, if you don't know people in similar circumstances, if you're young and reading about this and it is a lived reality that for once you get to have a tangible connection to someone else in the same situation, that last chapter is absolutely necessary. And if you think it's not, if you don't feel a call to action--the chapter is entitled: Call to Action--then don't read that section, plain and simple. Overall, I liked it, but I suspect I will like the original, adult version better. That being said I would recommend it to a teenager or teacher of middle/high school students.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Valerie McEnroe

    Before Diane was born, her parents and half-brother visited family in New Jersey on a temporary visa. Once they saw how much better life is in America, they made the decision to overstay their visa and live under the radar to avoid deportation. They tried unsuccessfully to apply for permanent residence, losing a lot of money to scam attorneys in the process. Born in America, Diane was the only one in her family with citizen status. Eventually, the law caught up with her family and deported them. Before Diane was born, her parents and half-brother visited family in New Jersey on a temporary visa. Once they saw how much better life is in America, they made the decision to overstay their visa and live under the radar to avoid deportation. They tried unsuccessfully to apply for permanent residence, losing a lot of money to scam attorneys in the process. Born in America, Diane was the only one in her family with citizen status. Eventually, the law caught up with her family and deported them. Rather than move to Columbia, Diane stayed in America. Her friend's family gave her a place to live while she finished out high school at a performing arts academy in Boston. Afterwards she went on to college and eventually landed a role in the TV show Orange is the New Black. I have personal issues with this story, but that isn't why I've given it 2 stars. The writing quality is basic, repetitive, and boring. There's very little grit and detail. Just doesn't go deep enough into the stories of Diane's childhood. I craved details, but this book only gives generalized descriptions of growing up in America. I didn't feel the fear and shame she says she lived under through her childhood. That said, there aren't enough nonfiction narratives for kids, especially ones that are easy to read. For schools that have teachers who rely heavily on the library's resources, I recommend this book. I feel this topic could have been covered more effectively as historical fiction similar to books like Front Desk or It Ain't So Awful Falafel. I hope there is an author out there who will attempt it. For a better written example of a nonfiction narrative for kids I recommend I Am Malala: Young Readers Edition.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Becky B

    Dianne Guerrero tells the story of her childhood. How her parents came to the US from Colombia on tourist visas to visit a relative and stayed since there were more financial opportunities. How she was born in the US after that and how her parents wrestled with how to become legal residents over the years, and the constant burden that put on their family along with knowing they could be deported at any time. She shares about her mother's multiple deportations and how her parents were both taken Dianne Guerrero tells the story of her childhood. How her parents came to the US from Colombia on tourist visas to visit a relative and stayed since there were more financial opportunities. How she was born in the US after that and how her parents wrestled with how to become legal residents over the years, and the constant burden that put on their family along with knowing they could be deported at any time. She shares about her mother's multiple deportations and how her parents were both taken when she was 14 and she was left completely on her own, thankfully taken in by kind friends. She then talks about how this shaped who she was in high school and college, and how it eventually led to depression. She talks about her talent development through an arts school, and the long road to becoming a successful actress. It is really important to get to know people instead of making a quick decision on a policy that doesn't involve anyone you know. It is important to listen to stories of those who have experienced incredible hardship and neglect. And it is important for their healing to be able to get those stories out. It is crazy that Dianne's parents were taken when she was 14 and NO ONE from the government ever checked on her to see if she had a place to live. Her story is eye-opening. I also appreciate her bravery in sharing her mental health issues and how she has gotten help for that. Of course most tweens and teens will pick this up because she is a famous celebrity now. But I think this will be a very good read for tweens and teens from appreciating the family they have present to understanding what's going on in the world to being aware there is help for mental health issues. It's not just some celebrity autobiography; it's an important read. Notes on content: No language issues that I remember but there might have been some mild swearing and she mentions people using derogatory racial terms. (Oh, and there is on f bomb bleeped out.) No sexual content. Dianne mentions her struggle with cutting (no details) and a night she contemplated suicide. She also mentions partying but no details of what that entailed.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    Diane Guerrero's story is heartbreaking, but timely. Born to immigrants from Colombia who were in the U.S. illegally, Diane learned at a young age that hard work and a desire for a better life were not enough. Her childhood was filled with laughter and love, but there was an underlying fear of deportation. Her parents tried to become U.S. citizens, but the lawyer that Diane's father hired turned out to be a con man and took off with all of their savings. When Diane's mother tried to get U.S. cit Diane Guerrero's story is heartbreaking, but timely. Born to immigrants from Colombia who were in the U.S. illegally, Diane learned at a young age that hard work and a desire for a better life were not enough. Her childhood was filled with laughter and love, but there was an underlying fear of deportation. Her parents tried to become U.S. citizens, but the lawyer that Diane's father hired turned out to be a con man and took off with all of their savings. When Diane's mother tried to get U.S. citizenship on her own, she was arrested and sent back to Colombia. Diane's mother was able to return to Boston, only to be arrested and sent back to Colombia again. When Diane was 14, both of her parents were arrested and deported for good, leaving Diane to fend for herself by relying on the kindness of her friends' parents. Diane suffered emotionally from the trauma of being separated from her family, and in spite of overcoming all odds and graduating from the Boston Arts Academy and then Regis College, she struggled with depression and cutting in her early 20s. At her lowest point, she considered suicide. Thanks to a therapist named Lorraine, Diane turned things around for herself and decided to enroll in acting classes to pursue her dream of performing. With hard work and some luck, Diane landed a role on the hit show Orange is the New Black, then starred in Jane the Virgin. She has decided to use her fame to educate people about immigration reform. This is the young readers' version of Diane Guerrero's memoir In the Country We Love: My Family Divided. I found the writing of this book to be conversational, but it annoyed me that it was filled with colloquialisms (for example, the liberal use of LOL and "dude"). I suppose middle school readers may enjoy that, but I found it off-putting. Nevertheless, Diane's story is important, and the last chapter includes a "call to action" that will hopefully inspire many teens to become more politically active. Recommended for gr. 6-9.

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